FORT LEE, Va. (WRIC) – Fort Lee, a U.S. Army garrison near Hopewell, was the first location in the United States to receive large groups of Afghan refugees following the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in July. People arrived in Fort Lee to complete the immigration papers and plan their resettlement further.
Now, Operation Allies Welcome said the last group of Afghan refugees have left Fort Lee to find new homes.
“Our soldiers, sailors, pilots, marines, and guards have provided – and continue to provide – steadfast support as part of Operation Allies Welcome,” said US Air Force General Glen D. VanHerck, US Northern Command Commander. “Last summer, Fort Lee was the first of eight DOD installations to welcome Afghans as they went through the resettlement process, and today the task force at Fort Lee is the first to say goodbye to the Afghans as they move on to their lives in America. ”
So far, more than 25,000 Afghans have been evacuated to the United States and resettled in communities across the country.
Marine Corps Base Quantico in northern Virginia, Fort Pickett in Blackstone and five other military bases across the country are still working to provide temporary housing for about 45,000 refugees, according to Operation Allies Welcome.
During their time at Fort Lee or one of the other bases, Afghan refugees receive medical assistance, the opportunity to apply for work permits and resettlement services.
All of the people brought to the United States from Afghanistan had already undergone extensive screening processes before being allowed to travel here. They also had to receive various vaccinations and take several COVID tests.
As these individuals and families work to start a new life, there are different ways people can help. An organization called Welcome.US works to help refugees pay for air travel, financial sponsorship, accommodation, and other resources. Another organization called Sponsor Circles helps refugees with paperwork, fundraising and welcoming them into their community.